G.I.Joe – Retaliation (Review)

G.I. Joe - Retaliation Review

First thought of the movie, and the most prevailing one throughout it for me:

Why in the hell did they kill off Channing Tatum within the first 10 minutes of the film? Now that was one big disappointment, considering that another character (Flint) would not have been missed at all, while Channing’s character Duke was likable, played well and funny – not to mention he is nice to look at. Well I do watch action movies for a few reasons, deeply developed dialogue about important and thought provoking subjects is not one of them. I want to see mind-blowing action, brought by strong men and women who look good delivering the many high powered scenes, and the few lines that move the story along. Channing added provided just that – for the few minutes he was on screen.

Channing Tatum with Dwayne Johnson

The main segment of the movie, was spent going after the person reasonable for Duke’s death, and the real reason someone wanted ALL G.I.Joe’s eliminated. Fast paced, the story moves along rather quickly, many explosions and fighting scenes included, the most memorable one being a chasing/fighting scene on the side of a mountain range, reminiscent of Chinese  action movies.

Overall the film delivered what it promised, a action packed entertaining ride.

Highlights: Bruce Willis’ characters home filled with a well hidden  arsenal (look what I found behind the soup, it’s a machine gun!), and the short but sweet cameo of James Carville, playing himself.

Down-side: Bruce Willis performance which was flat, and his attempt at proving tension between him and the female member of the team was annoying at best.

G.I.Joe is available on iTunes, via Amazon and currently to stream on Netflix.

 

Serena – A Short Film (Review)

I love artfully done short films, may they be a documentary, a extended music video turned into a short film, or a story. Wigs has brought forth a few short films on their channel (available to stream on their channel as well as their YouTube Channel). “Serena” is one of these creations, masterfully done, staring Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club) and Alfred Molina (Not Without My Daughter).

Centering around a very confined space – the confessional of a Catholic Church, both manage to capture the essence and power of a tender story, a woman falling for the “wrong” man, the man on the other side of the confessional, turning the setting almost romantic. This short film, and the expressive performances, are a real gem.  Watch it for yourself:

I truly think that the casting for this project was precise, and could not have been better, with Alfred Molina using his close-ups to portray an deeply convincing Priest.

I invite you to explore more of the short stories and documentaries, as well as ground-breaking series that Wigs has to offer.

X Is For X-Men: Days of Future Past – News

The release of X-Men: Days of Future Past is drawing closer (May, 23rd 2014), but not while already drawing some unwilling attention, not because of bad reviews, but because  of Director Bryan Singer’s announcement, that he will not be attending any of the premier festivities due to the abuse allegations against him. While I will not comment here on the case, I do consider this a fair and wise move, as it will take away the attention from him, and refocuses it on the film.

One of the pictures from the movie does bring us some mystery – Quicksilver is holding a young girl on his lap, and even though Brian Singer has denounced the possibilities of Quicksilver’s sister Scarlet Witch making an appearance, it does make us fans wonder, who then this little princess is, if not her.

See for yourself:

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I for my part will look forward to this installation of one of my favorite Marvel characters, with the high hopes to be just as entertained as I was with the previous creations of this franchise.

Are you looking forward to this installation of the X-Men? Which of the Marvel franchises is your favorite?

On a side note: Bryan Singer also credited as the producer of a very interesting drama, I just recently wrote about, and which premiered last week: The Black Box 

 

P Is For Pieces

Picking up the pieces of the few things I have encountered through the week, starting with the letter P

1. Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim Review

The movie started promising, I was pretty exited about the visual effects and the intro part of the movie – the world coming together to safe itself. What a wonderful concept. And then it fell apart for me. Love the three main characters of the movie – the experienced warrior Raleigh Becket, who lost his brother in battle, the  man in charge, Stacker Pentecost played by Idris Elba, and the inexperienced but enthusiastic rookie Mako Mori, played by Rinko Kikuchi.

The rest of the cast was less then impressive, giving the movie an old school over the top cartoonish feel, and not in a good way. I got bored half way through, not caring much about the fate of anyone else but the above mentioned three, which let me to pause the movie often, and get back to it later.  I hope the rumors of the creation of a possible part 2 are wrong. There are many beautifully crafted screenplays out there, that would do better with the studios time and money.

2. Person of Interest

Person of Interest - Review

The show I go to when there is nothing better on Television and I am bored. It has enough action scenes to keep the individual episodes interesting, and the thread that holds the entire thing together is unique enough to wonder about what what could happen next. But the individuals rescued and or hunted each week are predictable to the point of painful, their reactions rarely arising because of who they are, rather following a certain non-cooperation, no matter how rational a different responds would be. Too much formula, too predictable to be my favorite, but if I had a choice to watch this show and one of the really horrible comedies on TV right now (with the exception of Big Bang Theory), I would tackle Person of Interest.

3. Predictable Books

A few books that are currently on my reading list to be reviewed, have been stricken off it before I got to the half way point. There are two predictable points that usually are signs that the book is going to go bad right from the start

  • First person – unless you are really, really good at it (Megan Hart’s “Beneath The Veil” is one example of a masterful story told in first person), it usually falls flat. It is a lot more difficult to create a story from this point of few, so I urge authors to reconsider the use of it – and I beg you, do not follow the “50 Shades of Grey” idea of first person, present tense – that is just wrong.
  • Taking too long to get to the meat of the story – I have usually 5 books every week to read, that does not include homeschool lessons, short stories, blog posts and editing my own junk, so if a book does not hook me in the first few pages, I toss it. I am sorry, that makes me a bad reviewer in some peoples eyes, but I just don’t have the time for boring.

Now, I am going to try to find some peace and quiet, despite the fact that it is Friday, which means is Lawn Crew day in our condo complex – my dog usually barks most of the morning till late afternoon, at the intruders, who trim our small garden space, and rake the many leaves our oak tree filled grounds bring forth on a regular basis.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

L Is For The Lone Ranger

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I was reluctant to watch this movie, because of its lack of box office success (175 million gross) and mediocre press, and the controversy that followed, with the producer, Jerry Brockheimer, the co-lead actor, Armie Hammer, and the director Gore Verbinski accusing critiques of writing bad reviews before the movie was released to be critiqued.

But I always enjoyed Johnny Depp’s performances, so I thought we would sit together as a family and give it a try. Here are my thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this Disney movie, and so did my husband and teenage daughter. While it was not a blockbuster at the likes of Marvel creations, it was funny, with several laugh out loud moments, most of them involving either the banter between the two main characters, or parts including the white horse, that plays a rather large role in this film.

Granted, it is not a movie to watch over and over again, but it is charming, the plot engaging and there are no boring moments throughout the entire running time. It is also a movie one can watch with the entire family, without it being so lacking of action, that older children would have problems enjoying the story. There are not very many bad things I can say about this film, with the exception that Armie Hammers acting felt on a few occasions a little flat and that the main villain was somewhat predictable.

If you have not seen it, it is worth renting. Currently it is also available on HBO.

Here is a peak at the movie via it’s trailer:

 

J Is For Johanssen

As in Scarlett Johanssen that is. You know her from the Iron Man movies, as the voice in “Her”, and also, “Robot Chicken”.

Scarlett Johanssen has been busy. Yes I know she is pregnant, not what I meant, but besides working on Avengers 2 and having a kid, she has two movies coming out shortly (or have been released last week), which both sound weirdly interesting. Oh, and a Black Widow movie has just been announced! Busy woman, good for her. Let me start with “Lucy”

Lucy

Release Date: August 8th 2014

By: Universal Pictures

Director/Writer: Luc Besson

In Lucy, Scarlett plays a young woman who gets caught in the midst of a dark deal, waking up with drugs sown into her stomach. As one of them bursts, her abilitiy to access her brain becomes enhanced, leaving her able to manipulate her environment beyond what should be physically possible. It is a movie tailored to Scarlett’s abilities, her fighting skills she equired for her role as Black Widow come to display. Impressive action scenes seemed to be littered throughout this dark movie, that also features Morgan Freeman.

Here is the trailer:

And here is the second one:

Under The Skin

Release Date: April 4, 2014

Director: Jonathan Glazer

Under The Skin is a surreal, limited release movie, with Sci-Fi elements. It is based on a novel by Michel Faber.
The main character, an Alien, played by Johanssen, takes on human form in order to seduce men, so she can harvest their organs, under the supervision of another alien, who has taken on the form of a male motorcyclist.

 

Both movies are certainly worth taking a closer look at, building around a strong female lead character. Enjoy!

 

 

 

H is for Hell If I Know

I have been contemplating since yesterday what to write for today with the letter H. All I have come up with is a hodgepodge of craziness, all which does not combine to make a great blog post, but rather are tippets and random thoughts, of no real substance.

I am trying to keep this month theme centered on two subjects – cinematic arts (movies and television) and books. I was still drawing a blank, as none of the books on my shelf to review happen to have H in their title, or even an Author with a name that starts with H.

The only movies I could think of are rather old – Hitch for example, is quite cute, but rather not current.

So I started thinking about hair (maybe because I had a really bad hair day yesterday)

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I was thinking about facial hair to be exact, and actors whom should not be allowed to shave (Robert Downey Jr. looks like a boy until he leaves on some stubble, the same goes for Henry Cavil – he played Superman in Men of Steel, who turns into a teenager without facial hair, albeit one with lots of muscles).

Still that does not make a post on its own. So then there is Hope. Well hope is not related to movies or books, unless it is a theme, which usually implies religious. As I am non-religious but spiritual, I did not want to add that to this cinema and book blog – I got a spiritual blog for stuff like that.

At the end I did manage to come up with a heaping pile of some kind of random writing, that made it above 250 words. I shall now crawl into my corner of creativity and promise myself I will deliver something more coherent than this for the next letter.

Have a great day!

Sam Mendes, Penny Dreadful and Bond 24

I  just finished watching “Skyfall” (review posted tomorrow), when I ran across some info on the next Bond film (Number 24) and its director Sam Mendes

To begin I must say, that I am happy to hear that Sam Mendes has been sought after to direct the next Bond as well. He brought back the traditional feel of the original, “old style” spy movies, that I fell in love with the first time I saw Sean Connery move across the screen, as 007.

Sam Mendes is also creating a new series for Showtime, called Penny Dreadful, which from the snippets available seems beautifully dark and menacing with a paranormal twist, that makes my heart sing. I might actually have to subscribe to Showtime now, just to see more of what Mr. Mendes has created for us.

Here is a taste of the show:

Speaking of Bond, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green (Casino Royale) are a part of the cast of this horror spectacle. John Logan is the creator behind the show, who is announced to be writing the screenplay for the next two Bond movies, and is the master behind “The Last Samurai”, “Hugo” and “Sweeney Todd”.  No stranger to the darker shade of the cinematic experience then, while leaving enough space for real plot, deeper character development and not just gore.

In more Bond news, the villain for installment 24 is rumored to be quite a surprise for me. Chiwetel Ejiofor. (Please do not ever have John Travolta try to pronounce his name in public). The lead actor of “12 Years a Slave” would make a very interesting addition, a choice I would not have expected, but has me intrigued.

Stay tuned for additional news on the James Bond movies, I will try to keep you updated.

C Is For Coulson

If you are a Marvel fan, or like to watch action movies, the likes of Iron Man and the Avengers, you know who I mean. For the rest of you mere Mortals, I speak of Agent Coulson of course, the Shield Agent who was the reason behind the Avengers getting their groove together, who sort-of died, and who is in charge of another miss-matched team in the Joss Whedon gem “Agents of Shield”.

Still having a hard time picturing him? Then try this Marvel short film, called ” A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor”

You’re welcome.

Clark Gregg, the actor who plays Agent Coulson is no newbie in the world of acting. Before playing in the many recent Marvel movies, he played on Will & Grace (which is one of my all time favorite comedies), and The West Wing. Clark was also a part of Joss Whedon’s film “Much Ado About Nothing”, in which he played Leonato – very nicely, if I might add.

Why am I posting about Coulson, (Clark Gregg), you asked? That is simple. I am a fan. And if you learn more about him, you might be too.

He is very active on twitter at @clarkgregg

You will have another chance to see him in action, next Tuesday on ABC, at 8 pm/9 pm Central.

Book Review “Reading Joss Whedon” – A Syracuse University Press Publication

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“Reading Joss Whedon”
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Authors: Rhonda V. Wilcox, Tanya R. Cochran, Cynthea Masson, David Lavery
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Release Date: March 31st, 2014

A detailed, expressive book that explores the details of the career of an icon – and my personal hero – Joss Whedon. This work reads like a mixture of an analysis as well as an ode to one of the most successful movie and TV producers/writers/directors of our time. It is hard to ignore him, or his success and for any fan of this talented man, it is hard to ignore this work – instead you should embrace it as an opportunity to revisit the many aspects of Whedon’s work, which are examined in their fullest glory. From film students to writers, tv enthusiasts and Marvel geeks, the deep examination of his range provides interesting conversations, thoughts and viewpoints, is a must for fans of Joss Whedon. Revisiting the individual shows he has created, it presents a study of motive, background, history and related anecdotes of each, which will bring for some readers a new depth to the connection of the creative genius of Whedon. A highly entertaining collection, this book is a must have for all those whom are a dedicated fan.